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L&M Hospital Caregivers Prepared to Strike to Move Corp. to “Put Patient Care First”

“By voting to strike, we’re standing up for our community and the quality care they deserve,” said Lisa D’Abrosca, an RN at L&M Hospital and president of AFT Local 5049. “This is not a decision any of us take lightly. But we are deeply concerned that the community is losing the hospital it has counted on for over 100 years,” she said. Local 5049 represents approximately 540 RNs at the hospital.
 
D’Abrosca’s comments refer to joint efforts between the unions representing the hospital’s RNs and LPNs/technicians to preserve quality patient care in negotiations for contracts that expire in two days. They are seeking to stem the loss of vital health services and the jobs of the caregivers that deliver them which have resulted from LMC’s use of “alter ego” tactics. 
 
“Experience should mean something, especially when you’re dealing with life and death issues,” said Stephanie Johnson, a sleep lab technician at L&M Hospital and president of AFT Local 5051. “It doesn’t seem to mean much to the corporation that runs our community hospital. They have shown no willingness to stop replacing experienced caregivers and health professionals with less experienced replacement workers,” she said. The hospital’s approximately 250 LPNs, and technicians are members of Local 5051.
 
Johnson’s comments refer to evidence found in August by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that LMC was creating “shell corporations” in order to avoid their contractual obligations. The corporation has since refused to settle the NLRB’s complaint or agree to proposed protections against shifting patient services off-site and displacing the jobs of caregivers at the hospital. Leaders of the unions representing the hospital’s RNs and LPNs/technicians announced today’s vote after LMC demonstrated no intention of backing-off tactics that threaten patient care for the region.
 
“These courageous caregivers are taking a stand for their community,” said Melodie Peters, an LPN who worked at L&M Hospital and president of AFT Connecticut. “They don’t want to strike. But they care enough to take extraordinary measures to move LMC to put patient care first at our community hospital,” said Peters, who is also a former state senator from the region.
 
Peters’ comments refer to the historic nature of a possible strike at L&M Hospital, which would be the first of its kind in over 33 years in Connecticut. The collective decision by the unions’ combined workforce of nearly 800 represents a rebuke of the corporation’s failure to fulfill the hospital’s mission “to improve the health of this region.”
 
Union leaders are also urging hospital caregivers to participate in additional efforts to move the corporation to settle the complaint and agree to a resolution on job security before striking. Additional public service announcements in their “I Am L+M” public awareness effort are scheduled to air on the region’s cable TV networks over the next two weeks. Informational picketing outside the facility will also take place prior to any possible work stoppage in order to inform the community about the seriousness of the situation.
 
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AFT Connecticut, the largest union of acute care hospital workers in the state, represents approximately 1,600 registered nurses, LPNs, technicians, and healthcare workers at L&M Hospital in New London. Follow the labor federation on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aftct.
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